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Detailed guide: SKYNET Enduring Capability (SKEC) programme

Ministry Of Defence

February 23
16:49 2021

About the SKYNET Programme

SKYNET is a family of military communications satellites, currently operated for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), that provides strategic communication services to the UK Armed Forces and allies. SKYNET 5 is the most recent generation of this family.

The SKYNET Enduring Capability (SKEC) programme will deliver the next era of satellite communications (SATCOM) to the MOD using new space assets and a way to monitor and control them. These assets will also be supported by additional commercial services to provide a reliable and robust communications service.

About SKEC

The MOD SKEC Team are currently defining the future of the MODs satellite communications capabilities. New technologies and services in the space sector are emerging all the time, along with new threats, risks and hazards as space gets busier and more competitive.

In the same way that mobile phones need more data and bandwidth, with every new user and new technology, so do military communications and these demands are growing quickly.

To meet these additional demands, the MOD SKEC team want to build a network of satellites, ground stations and other user services to provide first class communications for government, allies and especially our defence personnel, whether theyre on operational duty or keeping in touch with family and friends whilst deployed.

Get involved with the SKEC programme

To build this new network the MOD SKEC Team would like to work with innovators in industry, academia and other government bodies, including our closest allies, to understand new trends and new opportunities and to encourage research and development.

To meet the needs of SKYNET, we are currently investigating:

  • new ideas, capabilities and services
  • the exploitation of our existing systems and information
  • terminals, ground equipment and other infrastructure
  • ways to improve our network efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • tools and technologies to deal with risks, hazards and hostile threats
  • using combinations of the best available military and civilian SATCOM services
  • new technologies to invest in, develop and encourage
  • future technologies and ways to improve the management of our core network.

Industry Engagement

The initial plan for industry engagement for the SKEC programme includes the following:

  • Future Acquisition Strategy RFI: March 2021
  • Assured Capability Protective measures: Quarter 2 2021
  • Space Segment Competition:* Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ): Quarter 4 2021
    * PQQ issue: Quarter 4 2021
    * Post PQQ issue Bidder Day: Quarter 4 2021
    * Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) issue: Quarter 1 2022
    * Post ITN issue Bidder Day: Quarter 1 2022.

Requests for Information (RFI)

The SKYNET Programme will at various times release Requests for Information (RFI) to industry in order to examine specific capability or technology topics. Formal publication of RFIs will be via the Defence Share portal. For information on how to access and register for Defence Share please see below or contact the SKEC Team.

SKYNET Future Acquisition Strategy: RFI Advance Notice

The MOD SKEC team intends to release a Request for Information (RFI) on or around Friday 5th March 2021. The RFI will seek feedback on early concept options for future SKYNET systems/services integration, acquisition and service delivery in the 2028+ timeframe looking beyond already-endorsed procurements such as Service Delivery Wrap (SDW), SKEC space segment, etc.

The MOD is interested in gaining industrys input on the viability and benefits of these early concept options and will continue to develop them as a result of the engagement.

It must be stressed that this engagement does not relate to the SKEC space segment, SDW or any other SKYNET competitions already underway or in planning.

The RFI is expected to have an approximate six-week response time.

If you have any questions, please contact the SKYNET team at ISSDel-Net-SatcomSKEC-IE-Grp@mod.gov.uk.

SKEC Technical Seminars

The MOD SKEC Team plans to invite industry to give a series of seminars on satellite technology to share innovative ideas, approaches and products, initially with a focus on:

  • propulsion technologies
  • in-orbit servicing
  • inter-satellite links
  • telemetry, tracking and command technologies
  • satellite-based situational awareness technologies.

It is anticipated that the SKEC satellites will be in-service until at least 2040 and the MOD are interested in both current and emerging technologies in these areas.

Contact the MOD SKEC Team if your solutions could enhance any of the key satellite performance metrics (communications throughput, power generation capacity, propulsion capability); or other important system drivers including timescales; costs; interoperability; risk and resilience; and the systems geographic coverage.

Contact us

If you think you and your team could help the MOD SKEC Team meet any of these challenges, then wed be very interested to hear from you. Please contact us at ISSDel-Net-SatcomSKEC-IE-Grp@mod.gov.uk.

For more information

You can find out more information on our collaborative site Defence Share. This is a secure site and if you wish to apply for access please request this by emailing the workspace manager at ISSDel-Net-SatcomSKEC-IE-Grp@mod.gov.uk.

There is also further information on the SKEC programme and other MOD contracts at Defence Contracts Online (DCO) at the new Defence Sourcing Portal (DSP) which is now live. You can login or register as a user on the official e-sourcing platform which advertises new contract opportunities tender and information on doing business with the MOD.

Suppliers should register for access using the Register now; button on the DSP homepage. The DCO will be retired in April 2021.

Please note that MOD opportunities advertised prior to the 15 February 2021 will still be processed to conclusion on the Defence Contracts Online (DCO) portal.

Published 6 November 2020
Last updated 23 February 2021 +show all updates

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